Summer Learning with Rabbi Donnell

July 06           Parashat Balak – “On Free Speech and Speaking Freely: Lessons from the Hafetz Haim”
July 13           Parashat Pinhas – “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice: Was Goldwater thinking about Pinhas perhaps?”
July 20           Parashat Matot/Masei – “When the Journey Comes to the End:  What is Your Promised Land?”

Torah Tuesdays at Twilight:
July 3
Ecclesiastes and the Meaning of Life
: The Book of Ecclesiastes is rich in wisdom and beautiful poetry.  Its ancient questions about the meaning of life are as relevant today as they were when they were first composed millennia ago.  Our first Tuesday will be spent looking at this often misunderstood great Jewish philosopher whose work ranks him among the great sages of the ancient world.

July 10
Lamentations: Why Now?
It is traditional to read the book of Lamentations on Tisha B’Av which falls on July 29th this year.  In preparation for the sacred and solemn observance we will take a look at this book mourning the destruction of Jerusalem and exile of the Jews during the days of the prophet Jeremiah.  We will explore its poetry and plumb the depths of its message.  We will also discuss the relevance and centrality of Jerusalem for Jews and Judaism today.

July 17
An Evening with a Good Book 2: To the End of the Land, by David Grossman (The book is available on iBooks, Nook Books, and Kindle)
A reprise of our acclaimed literary evening with Soni Sanberg and Rabbi Donnell reflecting on a novel by a significant Israeli author. Here are some excerpts from the review in the New York Times:

This novel is, on the one hand, a retelling of Truffaut’s “Jules and Jim,” in which two guys, best friends, fall in love with the same girl. Ora, the girl in this novel, is emotional, introspective, filled with an ability to notice and an ability to love. As for the boys, Ilan is rational, vulnerable, brittle, oddly needy and nerdy; and Avram is impulsive, brilliant, super­intelligent, larger than life. Having loved them both, Ora finally decides to marry Ilan, and they have a son, Adam; a few years later, made pregnant by Avram, she has a second son, Ofer, who is brought up as though he were Ilan’s child.

With her husband and elder son away in South America, Ora arranges to go on a hike with Ofer when his time with the military is up. Instead, he re-enlists. Ora must again live in fear of the “notifiers” from the army, who might call in the night, knocking on her door to deliver bad news.

Rather than staying at home and waiting, however, Ora settles on an almost magical way of keeping her son safe: she will not be there for the notifiers if they call. She will go to the north of Israel without a phone, where no one can notify her of anything, and she will hike south and not listen to news. She will find Avram, the boy’s father, and she will make him come with her.  The novel traces what happens as they walk and talk.

In a note at the conclusion of his somber, haunting new novel, “To the End of the Land,” he [Grossman] explains that he began writing it in May 2003 — around the same time he wrote that introduction, six months before the end of his older son’s military service and a year and a half before his younger son, Uri, enlisted. “At the time,” he writes, “I had the feeling — or rather, a wish — that the book I was writing would protect him… On Aug. 12, 2006,” Grossman continues, “in the final hours of the Second Lebanon War, Uri was killed in Southern Lebanon.” By that time, most of this book “was already written. What changed, above all, was the echo of the reality in which the final draft was written.”

By COLM TOIBIN (Published: September 23, 2010)

Lunch N’ Learn:
July 16 (Mon):  “The Upcoming Elections in Israel.  What Happened to Them?  What Does the New Coalition Portend for the Prospects for Peace and the Confrontation with Iran?”

Comments are closed.